Byron Allen, chairman and CEO of Entertainment Studios, shares his plan to expand in Hollywood
The mogul who purchased The Weather Channel for $300 million is just getting started.
Byron Allen is taking over the entertainment industry and he revealed a few of his secrets to success in a recent interview with Fortune.
The media mogul who purchased The Weather Channel in March for a whopping $300 million is the founder, chairman and CEO of Entertainment Studios (parent company of theGrio.) He currently owns eight cable and broadcast networks, including Comedy.TV and Cars.TV and employs more than 600 people.
Allen has set his sights on becoming a Hollywood mogul for a while. He has already had major triumphs in the film world and acquired Freestyle Releasing in 2015, which is now known as Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures. The studio has released several successful films such as Hostiles, 47 Meters Down, and Chappaquiddick.
“We’re trying to feed an audience—not chase it—and deliver what’s important,” he said.“We really just want to put out good movies and tell great stories,” said Allen.
When asked about rumors that he’s in negotiations to buy Landmark Theatres, Allen plays in cool.
“We’re looking to acquire, we’re looking to produce and we’re looking to really be a major supplier of motion pictures worldwide,” he told Fortune. “We’re looking at a lot of assets because we’re very inquisitive at this point. That’s just one of the assets. Nothing has been decided on Landmark in any way, shape or form.”
Landmark Theatres are currently co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban.
Started from the bottom now we’re here
Allen’s rise to the top was slow and steady and his story is an inspiring one. He started Entertainment Studios in 1993 from his dining room table. Entertainers with Byron Allen was his first show and the weekly series often brought him face-to-face with celebrities like Sherri Shepherd.
“I remember him when he was doing press junkets because he would interview me for the various shows that I had,” she said. “To see Byron in this place, as an African-American man in a position of power… I’m incredibly proud of him.”
Allen is still grounded by his roots as a comedian who used to work the stand-up circuit. He became a writer for Good Times star Jimmie Walker after a writer from the show saw his act at the infamous Comedy Store in Los Angeles. “Once you’re a comedian, you’re always a comedian,” Allen says.
The man who built an entertainment empire from his dining room offered some words of wisdom to content creators.
“People have an enormous opportunity now because I didn’t have the internet 25 years ago. Now, you have global distribution at the tip of your finger. You can create and produce content and be global,” he said. “Believe in yourself and believe in your vision. Don’t waver.”